San Francisco Board of Education Drops the JROTC Ball
Following San Francisco's Veteran's Day Parade earlier this month, I wondered aloud whether the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps) would continue participating due to the anti-military Board of Education's dictatorial decision to phase out the popular program.
There was a brief moment of hope when it was announced that the board would consider a proposed resolution approving a one-year extension of the program through the 2008-09 school year. But even then, it was clear that the decks were stacked against the JROTC. The resolution, as described by the San Francisco Chronicle, consisted of the following:
The measure before the board Tuesday night would eliminate two of the district's seven JROTC programs by next fall, replacing them with a yet-to-be-determined alternative.Hardly a reprieve for the beleaguered JROTC.
It would also prohibit enrollment of ninth-graders at the remaining five JROTC sites. In addition, district officials have decided that the high schools will no longer grant physical education credit for JROTC courses next year.
Board President and resolution co-author Mark Sanchez has had it out for the JROTC from the beginning, something he made clear when, in discussing the prospective measure, he stated:
"We were just very resolute that we need to move forward, and this is a good way of doing it...Basically, no shenanigans - just move forward and do it."But the board ended up doing, well, nothing when the time came. The measure was shelved due to disagreements between Sanchez and fellow board member and co-author Kim-Shree Maufas. Both claim they will discuss the matter further, but, as the Chronicle points out:
...unless the board takes further action in the future, the 90-year-old JROTC program will be eliminated at the end of this school year - fulfilling a decision the board made last November.The presence of a number of JROTC supporters at the meeting apparently had little effect on the Board of Education ideologues:
More than 100 students and community members attended the meeting, the vast majority supporting the JROTC programs.I couldn't agree more. Sadly, it doesn't look like anyone's going to be taking JROTC courses in San Francisco anytime soon.
Sanchez allowed 15 minutes of public comment at the beginning of the meeting, even though the measure was officially withdrawn.
Lowell High School senior Connie Chen had hoped to address the board, but didn't make it to the front of a very long line. Later, she said the board has left the students in limbo - with no extension and no replacement program - with about seven months until the end of the school year.
"They were elected to do what's best for the students," said Chen, who is the senior JROTC officer at her school. "They're the ones who should take JROTC leadership courses."